Taking Back January 21st!

Did you know that social scientists have identified January 21 as the most depressed day of the year? 

More suicides take place on January 21 than on any other day of the calendar year.

Experts say that on this particular day, January 21, the perfect storm is brewing in the atmosphere of emotional health.  Events and circumstances converge to increase the probability of gut-wrenching, name-calling and hard-to-escape depression.

The holiday bills are coming in by the bucket-load … the weather is dark, cold and threatening … it seems like there is nothing to look forward to during these last weeks of January … families have returned home after spending Christmas together … and flu season is at its height.

It is during those bleak situational conditions that depression comes knocking at the door of your heart.  The black hole begins to call your name … loudly and repetitively. Everywhere you look … there it is … depression.

You can’t ignore it … avoid it … or deny it. 

Depression.

Perhaps you have never wrestled with depression and if that is true … you are one of the blessed ones.  If depression has never been an influence in your life, keep reading anyway.  I can assure you that there is a person or two in your life who is dealing with the devastation that only depression causes.

May I just coach you for a minute? 

If you have a friend who is depressed, be a good listener.

If you have a friend who is struggling with depression, be an encourager.

If you have a friend who is struggling with depression, hold his or her hands and pray for them.

If you have a friend who is struggling with depression, encourage them to go see their medical doctor and help them find a qualified Christian counselor.

Depression is real, it is dangerous and it is nothing to ignore.

For many years, I was a depressed Christian.  I loved the Lord and longed to serve Him with my whole heart but I couldn’t shake the relentless and sharp claws of depression.  There was a constant and sorrowful ache in my soul that nothing could assuage.

I went to my medical doctor and followed his advice.  I talked to a Christian counselor and listened to her wisdom.  Both of those qualified professionals, my medical doctor and my counselor, were incredible answers to prayer in my weary life.

However, it was an addiction that I developed during the worst days of my depression that actually relieved my emotional pain to the greatest degree

The addiction that I developed was all-pervasive and became my constant obsession. 

I depended on this singular craving like a starving man longs for one piece of bread.  I was fixated on this habitude like a man dying of thirst hankers for one tiny drop of water.

The addiction that I developed during my long days of depression was a complete and life-changing addiction to the Word of God.

I kept my Bible open on the kitchen counter when I was doing the dishes.

I opened my Bible to a favorite Psalm and placed it on the dryer when I was folding laundry.

I placed my open Bible on my lap when I was sitting on the floor playing Legos with my little boys.

I was so addicted to the Word of God that I wrote Bible verses on 3x5 cards, laminated them and took them in the shower with me!

I was so desperate for the healing power that only the Bible was able to offer that I never wanted to be away from its soothing oil.

The Bible delivered me from depression before my circumstances ever changed.  A miracle was taking place in my very soul!

You see, the Bible is not a flat book but it is living and active and miracle-working! 

When a mere human reads the words that God Himself has spoken, it is in that moment that a life-changing event takes place … the mere human being is eternally transformed by the power that is available in this life-giving book!

If you are depressed … go see your medical doctor and do whatever he or she tells you to do.

If you are depressed … find a great Christian counselor and allow this certified professional to peel back the layers of your emotional pain.

But in addition to those two choices, never forget the power that is only in the Word of God!

I am not a medical doctor so I cannot help you medically.

I am not an educated counselor so I am unable to give you the wisdom that a counselor is trained to give.

However … let my voice be the voice of faith in your life!  If you are struggling with depression, with discouragement or with any other malaise of the soul … embrace the addiction that cured my emotional pain nearly three decades ago!

Read your Bible.

Read it every day.

Read your Bible several times a day.

Read the Psalms.

Read the Gospels.

Read the Epistles that were written to the early church.

Read your Bible for 5 minutes in the morning … for 10 minutes at lunch … and for 15 minutes before you go to bed at night.

Write out your favorite Bible verses in a journal or on 3 x 5 cards.

Memorize your favorite Scriptures.

Share a favorite Bible verse with a family member or a friend.

What do you say, my friend?!  Shall we take back January 21?!  Shall we reclaim this singular but extraordinary day and celebrate the joy of the Lord?

Shall we celebrate January 21 like it is the very best day of the year?

Let’s declare on the morning of January 21, “This is the day that the Lord has made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”